Lesson Update 7.0 and News

My weekly lesson was last night and it’s another one of those head scratchers. The mare I’ve been raving about is out on trial (I think and I hope for just a lease) so I rode another horse. A small hunter gelding and it was a straight up work out. Like, my lungs hurt today because it was more cardio than anything.

We started with just popping over a small vertical and it escalated into us doing the whole hunter course set for the show there this weekend. It felt alright, a ton of effort compared to riding the mare. I actually had to like, leg to the jump and God forbid, keep him straight. #learningtoactuallyrideishard amiright? All good things, though, and I appreciate the different ride as I am there to learn.

My jumping position left something to be desired and I definitely felt like I was regressing into my always-jump-ahead habits, but the video doesn’t look too bad? Unfortunately, the video was from my trainer who sent it to me over text is too poor quality to post and I'm too embarrassed to ask her to email it to me. Hubby said he’ll *definitely* come next week to video on my camera so maybe I’ll post a course. I also got some Mini DV videos of my last show circa Summer 2007 dropped off at Costco to convert them to whatever relevant computer video file. Eventually I’ll post a little comparison video!

As far as news goes, I’ve decided to start riding two to three times a week. It will be a greater strain on our budget, but at this point I need/want to ride more in order to meet my desired progress. Plus, it’s an awesome workout and I need to build the muscle. I’m planning on purchasing a young warmblood around 2019 or 2020 and I need to improve significantly before I can do that safely and reasonably (as I'm currently barely keeping myself from falling off a push button lazy hunter).

V. emotional about treats. Mostly: GIVE IT TO ME.

V. emotional about treats. Mostly: GIVE IT TO ME.

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Recent Lessons Overview

I've been wanting to do a little lesson log for a while now, and thought I would get down my experiences of past lessons while I have a week off from being sick. But of course I was too busy napping while I was sick to actually write anything, so I'm typing all of this up after returning home from my most recent lesson.

#views

#views

Lesson 1 - Intro

My first lesson primarily focused on the trainer kind of gauging where I was in my riding. We did walk, trot, canter and a six stride line a few times. The line was… ugly. I felt it. I saw it on trainer’s face. But hey, I stayed on! After having not jumped in about 7 years, I was just surprised that I was brave enough to actually do it.

It also really helped that I was riding a very lovely warmblood mare who is just very honest and has a great, predictable jump and pretty steady canter. Though, she does occasionally have an attitude problem and really tested me on my first ride. She can get very sticky in corners with an exit and at one point stopped and we had a little argument. I really don’t mind things like that, though. It’s important to be able to navigate all sort of ‘questions’ when riding and I appreciate being able to learn on such a quality horse without having them be push button. She is also very look-y which is fine as she hasn’t actually spooked with me, but again, it’s all good experience and she is very forgiving of my many mistakes otherwise. So we put up with each other.

Lesson 2 - Waterskiing

I rode another mare for my second lesson, a hot blooded jumper mare who has had a very prestigious career and is jumping lower because she’s coming back from an injury or attempted breeding, or both (can’t remember). Anyway, I was a little weak this lesson and pretty much didn’t have enough leg to keep this poor mare contained. Kind of waterskied the entire time and I really hope I didn’t tug on her mouth too much. Jumping on her was awesome though and my jumping position felt more secure than lesson one.

Lesson 3 - Rollback

I think this was the best lesson I’ve had so far. My jumping position felt amazing. I rode the mare from lesson one, and she was super. We mostly worked on a line down the center of the arena and did a rollback through the line to a Swedish oxer angled off the side of the second jump in the line. I think we went through the entire exercise three times and my position seriously had never felt better. Had to describe, but see figure below. My leg position felt so much better, actually strong enough to get my heel under myself instead of my good ol’ chair seat.

Lesson 4 - Gridwork

My grid work lesson was not the rainbows and butterflies that the rollback lesson one. I rode my favorite mare again and we did a little grid exercise: jump in, bounce to another jump and canter through the poles. Oof. The concept of not sitting up and popping the sweet mare in the mouth was hard to me to catch onto at first. Of course it never helps that my lessons are late at night when the barn owner checks on the grounds and stops to watch me FAIL. But it finally clicked our last time through the grid and I just stayed in my two to three-point throughout the exit poles of the grid and we ended on that good note.

Lesson 5 - WEAK

I had two weeks between my fourth and fifth lesson because I had a ridiculous summer flu and had to skip a week. Unfortunately, those two weeks were me going to work, coming home and lying in bed until I went to sleep, so all of my muscles that I worked so hard to earn pretty much atrophied.

My favorite mare had hives so I got to ride the beautiful Leo, who I’ve heard many good things about. He used to be a big eq horse until he decided he didn’t want to show anymore and so now he’s the world’s nicest lesson horse (and I really hope he’s still around when I can afford to lease!). He really is super sweet though, and cuddly in the cross ties. Of course, he’s huge and has the biggest (albeit nice) trot and I was strugglin’. Also legit could not even get him to canter I was so weak. We did a few jumps which were quite rough. He did refuse at one, but it was more like I didn’t have enough leg and he was drifting and as we got closer to the jump I just kind of stared at it and he was like, No, we’re not doing this, definitely not a dirty stop. Although the jumping could have gone better, I did really like Leo.

A woman at the barn was having her new horse delivered during my lesson which my trainer had to help with so we just kind of got to walk around on a loose rein and enjoy the evening and it was just a really gorgeous night. The woman waiting for her new horse was also super overjoyed and anxiously waiting at the gate for the trailer to arrive so she could film it and I was like, Go girl! That’s gonna be me!! It was really sweet.

Anyway, off to do my squats and crunches and get this booty back into riding shape!

The mare I've pretty much fallen in love with. Lightweight might've started playing the lottery to afford her.

The mare I've pretty much fallen in love with. Lightweight might've started playing the lottery to afford her.

Also, today's my husband's birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUB. Get ready for fancy, shmancy Chinese food and banana cream pie tonight but also for the next amazing 25 years spent with yours truly. And I'm sorry the best gift I've ever gotten you is late...

Mikey's Goodbye Gifts

Sportin' his new duds.

Sportin' his new duds.

Even though I ended Mikey's lease much sooner than anticipated, and he won't be my responsibility after July ends, I've still grown quite attached. I don't think I've ever known a horse so quick to bond, either (his whinny when he sees me pull up is enough to melt my heart). 

Gifts are my love language and post-drinkies online shopping is a hobby, so I thought I would order him some goodbye gifts that he was actually in great need of. Namely a new fly sheet, but also something to help him with his hoof health, a new halter that wouldn't rub his sensitive skin and some soft brushes. Like I said, v. delicate skin.

His Smartpak package arrived Saturday so Sunday my husband and I took his goodies out to spoil him. He was pretty damn pleased with all the attention and fussing (I even taught my husband how to groom him, which was THE CUTEST). I'm definitely going to miss this sweet old man. I really hope his owner finds a better place to board him with some nice deep bedding or green grass where he can roll without scuffing himself up.

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Gift List

  • Farrier's Fix Hoof Oil - I'm excited to see if this yields any results by the end of the month, might have to do a review or before/after
  • Soft face & soft body brush
  • Saxon Mesh Fly Sheet
  • Weaver Halter - was supposed to be burgundy
Look at his poor pastern ouchies!

Look at his poor pastern ouchies!

Okay, I do hunter pose for you...

Okay, I do hunter pose for you...

Before I had to tell hubby to gtfo out of my picture, lol.

Before I had to tell hubby to gtfo out of my picture, lol.

And unfortunately, after many serious discussions with my other half, we decided it's best if I don't lease at Barn 2 with lessons on top of the lease fee. It would just be too hard on our budget while we're trying to save for a home and he's still in law school. Until then I'll probably be riding one to two times a week at Barn 1. Disappointing as it's hard to improve at all when you're riding that little, but that's life.